PriceCheck: DOH Challenges Providers To Improve Billing

May 10, 2016

Patients looking for more transparency in health care costs won’t usually find it on the bill from their medical provider.

One visit to a hospital can result in multiple bills from various providers -- including the facility, doctor, lab and specialists -- each with their own presentation, coding and medical jargon.

Patients can be left wondering whether they’ve been double or triple charged for the same procedure, how much their insurance has paid and what they actually owe.

To make medical bills easier to read, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday a challenge for health care organizations.

The “A Bill You Can Understand” challenge will reward health care providers who design bills that are easy to understand and transform the medical billing system.

“This Challenge is part of HHS’ larger effort to put patients at the center of their own health care,” Department of Health Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a news release. “… We are creating progress toward a medical bill that people can actually understand and a billing process that makes sense.”

The challenge, sponsored by the AARP, will accept submissions through Aug. 10. Two winners will receive $5,000 each.

Several health care organizations have committed to test or implement the winning submissions.

Health News Florida is also working to improve health care transparency. Last month, WLRN, WUSF and Health News Florida launched PriceCheck, a reporting project aimed at bringing clarity to the cost of health care in Florida.

You can help us untangle health care prices by checking out the PriceCheck tool, which will let you upload your prices and see what other people paid.